Saturday, May 31, 2008

Truth and Reconciliation? Not likely.

This was news to me. Yet another giant wad of cash ($60 million) is being blown on yet another attempt to do penance for the ‘sins of our fathers’ in Indian residential schools. This time it’s the court ordered Truth and Reconciliation Commission:

All parties - aboriginal groups, churches that ran the schools and the federal government that enacted the policy - approved the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Along with cash payments to individual victims, a planned apology from the government, $100 million in funding towards healing initiatives and $20 million for a commemoration and memorial program, the settlement agreement ordered $60 million in government money for the TRC.

"That court order says the parties will cooperate fully and participate fully," [Justice Laforme, the Commission leader] said.

There’s enthusiasm:

"We know the truth in a broad, general sense. Nobody can deny that this happened," said Justice LaForme. "So what we are really looking for now is what are the details of that truth? And what is the breadth and width of it? That's the truth component.

"The beauty of a TRC is being able to isolate a timeframe and look at a series of events and to frame it around massive human rights violates and the role of government or particular players," said Karen Murphy, director of international programs for Facing History and Ourselves, a U.S.-based nonprofit group. "What you are doing in Canada is pretty amazing."

And skepticism/hostility:

As the commission begins its work, critics are already asking victims to boycott it, calling it a "sham" and a "whitewash."

"To think that we can somehow engineer reconciliation when we are not even doing the most basic things we should be doing towards native people, like treating them like they are equal citizens," said Kevin Annett, a former United Church minister . [A good point - but I don’t think he’d agree with my idea of "equal" treatment.]

Colour me skeptical too, but from a different angle. As Laforme said, there’s little doubt that there were abuses. But what chance is there that the TRC will get the full "truth"? And without it what does "reconciliation" mean? In today’s pc multi-culti orthodoxy, assimilation is equated with evil. So pretty well everyone who attended the schools is considered a victim. And it’s fairly certain the commission will hear the horror stories. But no matter how well intentioned the schools may have been or how much the residents may have actually benefitted from them, that part of the truth won’t likely be heard, much less recorded.

In his excellent article in the 'Post' Prof. Rodney Clifton, an Anglican with long experience in the education of aboriginal people, provides credible, detailed confirmation of this view:

The commission likely will hear many stories that reflect the claims made by Michael Ignatieff, the deputy leader of the Liberal party, .... Mr. Ignatieff wrote: "The residential school system ? "... most dismaying betrayal of Canada's first peoples in our history"; and "The worst legacy ... poisoned the wells of faith in education among generations of aboriginal Canadians."

Many people believe that. But is it true?

... we know that some people working in residential schools brutalized the children under their care. Such individuals should be punished for their crimes. So should administrators from both the churches and the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs who covered them up.

Nevertheless, the aboriginal residential-school history must be put into appropriate context. At the time, aboriginal residential schools were not much different from many other schools. Many non-aboriginal children, for example, were strapped in schools; some were also sexually abused. [almost anyone who went to school prior to the 1970s can recall corporal punishment and verbal abuse of one kind or another]

...not all the children who attended residential schools were aboriginal. At Stringer Hall, about 12% of the 280 students were non-aboriginal -- the children of ...merchants, missionaries and trappers from tiny settlements where no schools existed.

Finally, some aboriginal children had been physically and sexually abused in their home communities and residential schools actually saved some of them from continued abuse.

Even though this evidence has been available for some time, it is obvious that Michael Ignatieff did not consider it before saying: "Another illusion is that the intentions behind the [residential] schools were good."

On the contrary, my experience is that most of the people who worked in residential schools wanted to help the children receive a good education that would allow them to survive in the modern world. Most of these people also wanted to fulfill the evangelistic calling of committed Christians: to help the poor, tend to the weak and treat the sick.

I pray that the commission will hear a variety of perspectives. Unfortunately, I do not think this will happen because of the hostile climate that now exists.

In this reinterpretation of history, neither the Canadian people nor the Truth and Reconciliation Commissioners will likely hear the full story. As a result, I do not think the commission will achieve lasting reconciliation.

My bet is that Prof Clifton's truths will earn him some hate mail. But I hope that he and others of like mind and experience will get the opportunity to testify before the Commission.

Friday, May 30, 2008

CNN poll - Ché as 'freedom' fighter?

Ché’s main legacy is his contribution to establishing the Cuban prison state.
Oddly, but not surprisingly, 42% of CNN respondents interpret this as fighting for "freedom".
On second thought, given it was a CNN poll, perhaps we should be surprised it wasn’t 90% .
See also, ‘The real Cuba’.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Poll - Carbon tax

The people speak. And good for them - they're speaking with their wallets. Though in this case the 2.4 cent tax is dwarfed by market induced price increases. So it's mainly a tax grab.

And we can't really take this as a sign that people are waking up to the "climate change" hysteria and nuttery. Those who voted in this poll are no doubt part of the same crowd who constantly harp at Premier Campbell for not being sufficiently green.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let’s all sing “kumbaya”

In this post David Thompson neatly deconstructs a socialist professor’s airy/vacuous assumptions regarding society’s "duty" to the less fortunate.

It’s a fine read and, even better, it leads (in the comments) to this excellent essay "The road to hell..." where Freeborn John (Peter Risdon) illustrates and analyses the practical and logical flaws inherent in egalitarianism. Eg:
So deep is their assumption that egalitarianism is right, they will ultimately justify the principle on the grounds that it is a fundamental law of some kind. But it is not obvious to everyone that it is, or why it should be perceived to be at all desirable.
And this is the final problem with egalitarianism. It is totalitarian and, therefore, it is tyrannical. Totalitarianism holds that the state has the power to regulate human affairs, rather than make sure the drains work. It is noticeable, in fact, that under most totalitarian systems in the past the drains didn't work. Egalitarians, and totalitarians, hold that it is reasonable for an agent of the state to step between [citizens] at gunpoint, share it out as seems best to the agent, and imprison or shoot anyone who disagrees.It is almost funny that this notion is held by its adherents to be a moral good.

Sex for food - a continuing U.N. programme

More evidence of your United Nations and it's fellow "humanitarians" providing aid in time of need (their own perverted need that is):

Humanitarian aid workers and United Nation peacekeepers are sexually abusing small children in several war-ravaged and food-poor countries, a leading European charity has said.

Children as young as 6 have been forced to have sex with aid workers and peacekeepers in return for food and money, Save the Children UK said in a report released Tuesday.

After interviewing hundreds of children, the charity said it found instances of rape, child prostitution, pornography, indecent sexual assault and trafficking of children for sex.

Clearly it hasn't escaped the notice of pedophile rings that employment with international aid agencies presents certain, umm..., opportunities.

Joe Clark - Canada’s Jimmy Carter

Whenever Joe Clark, a dismal failure as Prime Minister, gets the chance he takes a shot at PM Harper. Today was no exception. In a CTV interview with Mike Duffy he took the opportunity to show his small mind and bad form in criticizing the sitting Prime Minister. He seems to think that this kind of behavior somehow enhances his image. It does the opposite.

Maybe it’s just simple, moronic envy. Harper is a heavy weight. Clark is feather weight and deep down he knows it.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Manhattan Declaration on Climate Change

We ... ... Hereby declare:

That current plans to restrict anthropogenic CO2 emissions are a dangerous misallocation of intellectual capital and resources that should be dedicated to solving humanity’s real and serious problems.

That there is no convincing evidence that CO2 emissions from modern industrial activity has in the past, is now, or will in the future cause catastrophic climate change.

That attempts by governments to inflict taxes and costly regulations on industry and individual citizens with the aim of reducing emissions of CO2 will pointlessly curtail the prosperity of the West and progress of developing nations without affecting climate.

That adaptation as needed is massively more cost-effective than any attempted mitigation, and that a focus on such mitigation will divert the attention and resources of governments away from addressing the real problems of their peoples.

That human-caused climate change is not a global crisis.

Read the whole thing and sign up.

Update: More from Hunter at Climbing out of the Dark.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Atlas Shrugged

I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’ve just now, for the first time, decades late, read Ayn Rand’s classic novel ‘Atlas Shrugged’.

In a gripping epic story of the collapse of a prosperous modern civilization into a backward socialist dystopia, Rand expounds her economic, political and moral philosophy. Written in the middle 50's it’s still highly relevant. Actually, given the creeping socialism that’s gone on since, it’s even more relevant than ever.

It’s required reading for everyone, but especially for politicians, government bureaucrats and corporate executives.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Global warming causes kidney stones

Anthony Watts reports:

From the “You’ve got to be freakin kidding me department” comes this proof positive that EVERYTHING is caused by global warming. Yessirree folks...

From the Thaindian News and here it is on Science Daily so no, I’m not making this up.

Healthcare as a 'right'

The 'right to healthcare' is commonly assumed to mean that 'society' is obliged to supply it to everyone (for 'free'). A better interpretation:
I do believe that healthcare is a right, in the sense that free speech is a right; no one can take that right away from you. On the other hand, no one else has to build an auditorium for you, or publish a newspaper for you so that you can exercise your right to free speech. Treating health care as a right that others have the duty to supply for you has a great many ill effects. Universal health care sounds good as a dream, but in actual practice it has a great many deficiencies ...

And, furthermore ... , etc.

Obama the appeaser

I just watched nearly ten minutes of CTV Newsnet stumping for Obama with a story titled "Obama responds to Bush" covering a speech from the primary campaign trail in South Dakota.

Bush's remarks about Nazi appeasers must have struck pretty close to home. Otherwise why would Obama be taking it so personally:
If Bush gave a speech about drug dealers, would you release a statement saying, "how DARE you insult me!"? Of course not.... So if you really aren't an appeaser, you shouldn't have willingly identified yourself with that group.

Excellent point. And, moreover...

Also, "Can someone explain ...
... how Obama sat in Wright's church for 20 years and managed never to hear anything, but hears 20 seconds of a Bush speech that doesn't mention him and perceives a shameful personal attack?"
Update: Mark Steyn in the OC Register.

Monday, May 12, 2008

“Justice” Minister against free speech

This truly sucks. Justice Minister and Attorney General Rob Nicholson’s weasels have submitted an opinion favouring continued assaults by "Human Rights" Commissions on the free speech granted by our (apparently useless) Charter of "Rights and Freedoms".

Weighing in:
Ezra Levant
Mark Steyn
Blazing Cat Fur (and)
Five Foot Fury
Damn! Now I have to write yet another snotgram to Harper and Nicholson.

Stop the HRC

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Give peas a chance"

Human rights, animal rights and now vegetable rights:
Swiss lawyers are elaborating the doctrine of vegetable rights. " A few years ago the Swiss added to their national constitution a provision requiring "account to be taken of the dignity of creation when handling animals, plants and other organisms." No one knew exactly what it meant, so they asked the Swiss Federal Ethics Committee on Non-Human Biotechnology to figure it out."
Coming soon - mineral rights.

[via, and]

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Rent-seekers, race-hustlers and beggars

Ezra Levant attended a conference of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF) last Friday. He describes the audience of about 100 like this:

These were "anti-racism" grantrepreneurs -- people who had to hustle,
every year, to liberate $50,000 or $75,000 from this government agency or that one, to keep going.They were what economists call "rent-seekers" -- or what Ayn Rand called "moochers and looters".

... a permanent court of race-hustlers and beggars -- and even bigots. And all of them were living off the government teat.

CRRF's executive director, Ayman Al-Yassini ... an ethno-bureaucrat with a big budget, immune from Parliamentary accountability because it's already in his endowment fund.

... a different breed: a hundred low-budget racial "consultants" who care more about their perks [and] projects ...

Echoing a commenter on his blog - Don't hold back Ezra. Let us know how you really feel!

Jason Kenney was there in his role as Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity. He gave a speech which was ‘courteously’ received:

Why had there been no heckles from the hard-left crowd when Kenney spoke?

Why had the foundation's directors and staff been so obsequious to Kenney?

Because they all depended on Kenney and his department for their grants and hand-outs.

And the good news:
... his department's grants have fallen from $18 million last year to $10
million this year. That's a lot of junkets, conferences -- and $2,000 suits --
gone missing from the "anti-racism" movement.
That’s a decent start, Jason. Lop off $10 million more and that job’s done.

It occurs to me that Jason Kenney holds one of those government positions for which it’s blatantly obvious that the Minister’s primary mission should be to completely eliminate his own organization.